Meet my friend; Infertility

September 6, 2011 at 7:00 am | Posted in Daily Life | 30 Comments
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Image courtesy of Nina Matthews Photography on Flickr Creative Commons

Today I am going to be interviewed on Oxfordshire radio stations about infertility.  And in my case secondary infertility (when you can’t conceive for a second time).

This is the first time I’ve covered the subject on my blog.  So here we go, meet my friend; infertility.

Not as friend as such, more an irritating companion.  A niggling itch that you can’t scratch.

My husband and I have been blessed with an incredible little boy – smart, witty, confident and absolutely beautiful.  ‘They should be happy they have a child at all’ many will say – or at least think to themselves.

But as all mothers will know, when that burning desire to carry a child through pregnancy to labour and the birth sets in, it is totally overwhelming and incomparable to anything else in this world.

We have been trying to conceive for two years now.  Bear; our three-year old son was conceived within the first month of trying.  However, we were abroad, in the beautiful Australian sunshine, living on water and fresh pineapple, enjoying the good life as newlyweds.

Our circumstances our very different now – we have a big mortgage, my husband works unsociable hours, I run a business – often I feel very motivated, inspired and incredibly lucky, but sometimes I also feel lonely and lost.

At this two-year mark we’ve started to research our options.  After a heckle-raising and deeply upsetting consultancy appointment in June when we were told by a hard as glass woman that she had no idea why we were there, what we expected or what to tell us, we realised that changing our fortune was down to us and no one else.

Because we are so lucky to have a son, we don’t qualify for any NHS support.  And rightly so.  I do agree that IVF treatment should be reserved for those that have no children, however the lack of help and guidance leaves a gaping hole and a nasty taste in your mouth.

The consultant we saw had nothing to offer, not even a sympathetic ear.  She couldn’t even spare us the time to go through my monthly cycle and suggest options that might naturally improve our chances of conception.

I firmly believe that we will fall pregnant naturally and that mother nature has a way of deciding when the time in right.  We’ve had an amazing two years; done up a house, grown a business, had lovely holidays and dedicated our time to our wonderful little boy.  So maybe we were just needed elsewhere.

We’ve seen friends fall pregnant, give birth and celebrate the first birthdays of their children.

Some friends are hugely supportive – wrap you in their arms, ask how you are and offer a friendly ear, any time of day or night.  Some are embarrassed, some decide to ignore the huge albatross hanging around your neck and others feel awkward and uncomfortable around you.

I’ve just started acupuncture and have high hopes for this.  The therapist is lovely; supportive without being insulting, friendly without being invasive.  There is no whale music and no incense.  She’s my kind of person.  She also said herself that she thinks we’ll conceive naturally in the next few months.

So for now I’m drinking smoothies, going jogging, swimming, having needles stuck into various parts of my sensitive pink but slightly ageing skin and only enjoying the occasional glass of Merlot.

I have no gripes with the NHS; our local hospital, the JR in Oxford is amazing – the care we received when our son was born was fantastic – apart from expecting me to survive the morning on two Weetabix after a 10 hour labour that is.

However there isn’t enough resource in the system to treat each woman with the respect and emotional support that she needs and deserves.  It’s a conveyor belt – wheel ’em in and wheel ’em out – if they can’t help or you don’t qualify then see you later – go and pay your parking ticket and go home.

They seem to forget that this rules your life.  It consumes your every waking moment.  It dominates every decision – do we book to go to Vegas next year or will we have a baby?  Do I take on that big new client or will I be on maternity leave?  Do we move house or will we need every penny for the new baby? Do we live like recluses because in a year’s time we might need £4000 for IVF?  And then up to £46000 more to actually make it through to a successful pregnancy.  Do we just accept that we’re blessed with one child and stop?  Will I ever be able to get on with my life without fulfilling that overwhelming desire to have another baby?

In the Red Magazine survey which I’ll be discussing on Jack FM this morning alongside my own experiences, the results show that 61% have paid for IVF because it’s not available to them on the NHS.  The survey also says that 47% of women said that their fertility problems made them stressed.  I’d say nearer 97% for anyone trying for more than 9 months.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a lucky lady – I have a roof over my head, a supportive husband, a job, a bit of money in the bank and above all an amazing little tinker of a boy.  But when your hormones say ‘make another baby’ there aint much you can do to make that go away.  It feels like a huge black hole.  I’m not sure what happens if you just let yourself fall in…

Have you experienced infertility?  I’d be interested in your thoughts.



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  1. I can’t offer any advice, but I just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you and wishing you all the luck in the world x

    • Thanks Sandy, I hope you are all well – it’s been ages! x

  2. Have you tried monitoring your BBT? I’m sure you have but I’m fairly new to your blog.
    I’ve been trying since early 2006 with no joy and no help from the NHS because my BMI is over 28, their only answer is to lose weight, regardless of the fact I ovulate regularly and have successfully conceived twice in the past (no successful term pregnancies though). We’ll keep trying and hope that one day we’ll be blessed with a child.

    • Hello hun, thanks for commenting, it’s a tough road isn’t it!! Yes tried that, not overly pleasant but gave it a try! I know really accurately when the ‘right time’ is now, as I’m sure you do too for it being such a long time – you get very in tune with your body don’t you! Have you tried acupuncture or any supplements? I don’t want to become a crazy lady but you do start to consider all options – I read yesterday that you shouldn’t use deodorant with aluminium in it! Everything crossed that it happens for you xx

  3. I have not experienced infertility as such, but I did suffer from many miscarriages before the boys came along, ten long years of wanting a child, but convincing myself that we would be happy childless.

    However I do know of a friend who longed to have a second baby and finally managed after 10 years if trying with the help of fertility drugs (not full blown IVF) and also the boys Godmum settled on being the mum to an only child after longing for a second, which just didn’t come no matter how hard they tried.

    Something I have learned this summer is that this is our happily ever after, that I need to live in the now and make the most of the now and that life is all about the journey not the destination.

    • You are so very right about that Jen, you’ve got to live in the moment. I think what’s hardest for people like me and those you mention is that there is no logic or justice – just a total mystery so you have many, many unanswered questions!

  4. It took me a while to fall pregnant with my first. I started investigating other options and had acupuncture not just for fertility. For me, if I feel like I am doing something to help then it helps me. Keep on trying and you are right, when the time is right it will happen. I am here for you always if you ever want to chat and never far away in my thoughts xxx

  5. My husband and I have been trying for a baby for over 5 years and are ‘diagnosed’ with unexplained infertility. It’s one of the most difficult things to go through and make sense of, but not much talked about unfortunately. Thanks for blogging and talking about it!

    • It’s really hard isn’t it, I really appreciate what you’re going through – what stage are you at with regards to treatments? xx

  6. I haven’t experienced it but I just wanted to say that I’m sorry you are going through this. I really hope it happens for you soon. x

    • Thanks so much I hope you are well x

  7. Oh honey. All I can tell you is that my mother was told she could never have children. They’d be trying forever too. She has four of us now. So hang on in there. xx

    • Thanks lovely lady, wow that’s amazing, did they give her a reason? I have a friend with two who was told no chance without medical help x

  8. I have been very lucky so I cannot know how you are feeling but it was very interesting to read this post as I had no idea that this would be the case second time round. I have a friend that swears acupuncture was responsible for her getting pregnant (she has a number of health issues and thought she would never have a baby, right now she is in labour!)

    Have you looked into Hypnofertility? I have heard good things about it.

    • Thanks hun, yes me too, apparently it’s one of the only proven alternative therapies to help with infertility x

  9. Isn’t is awful that you almost have to apologise for feeling this way just because you already have a child? I wouldn’t write off seeing another more professional professional though…Will be following your journey with fingers crossed. x

    • Am contemplating a ‘strongly worded letter’ to the consultant we saw! Maybe we’ll get referred to someone who actually gives a damn!

  10. Oh hun, I had no idea. Thank you for sharing this. So often I have wondered whether friends are trying and just not known whether I should ask. Big hugs. x

    • Thank you lovely lady, I haven’t really talked about it online until very recently – probably because we’ve felt like it’s bound to happen for us soon – and we’ve reached the two year mark and it still hasn’t! That’s the hardest thing, the lack of logic to it – and that people don’t bother asking anymore – so I’m glad to get it out there and have people’s support! Hopefully see you Friday! x

  11. Are you charting your cycles? Do you know when and if you are ovulating?

    • Yes, we’ve had every test going to check that we’re fit, healthy and that I’m ovulating and that husband isn’t firing duffs!!
      After two years I know my cycle so well, I know to within a few hours!

  12. My mum tried for children for 13 yrs and my sister and I came along 18 mths apart! I had 4 yrs of infertility before conceiving my daughter via IVF (we paid). 3 yrs later after frozen embryo failure and another fresh IVF failure my son was conceived naturally. Never give up hope. But be kind to yourself too. I wish you lots of good wishes for the journey.

    • Thank you, that’s the key isn’t it, never give up hope!

  13. Man that sucks….
    we had issues conceiving our first child, though not the second. I don’t know which way round is harder. It’s made all the more unbearable by people who can’t even say things with a sympathetic tone. If you are working in that kind of business: faced with dashing people’s hopes every day, a little encouragement would not go amiss.

    • I know! Going to see a new GP on Friday so fingers crossed she has a comfy shoulder!

  14. oh sweety. I’m sorry I couldn’t bring myself to read the entire post, it was breaking my heart. Have everything crossed for you hun *hugs*

    • Thank you! Hopefully I’ll be able to add a happy ending soon!

  15. We went through exactly the same thing, we had our honeymoon baby (who is about to turn 9!) and when she was 1 we decided to try for another. Sadly, we lost 2 babies, and had to go through 2.5 IVF’s (I had to give up half way through the last as I just couldn’t do it again) and we were still a family of three. After 5.5 years, we finally got pregnant naturally, and our gorgeous little boy was born 2.5 years ago!
    Secondary infertility is no less hard than ‘normal’ infertility. You watch all your friends go on to have baby number 2, 3 or even 4, and you’re expected to not feel any pain, because you already have one gorgeous child. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.

    Good luck with your acupuncture, I loved it when I had mine! I have everything crossed for you. xxxx

  16. […] second issue is something that’s turned my world upside-down.  Secondary infertility.  We were very lucky to conceive our soon very quickly, so now, at the two year mark we’re a […]

  17. […] If you don’t know the background, it took us two and a half years to conceive and we had an emotional time trying to understand unexplained secondary infertility. […]

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